Gifts of the wise men
The wise men play a significant role in the Christmas Story. They are gentiles who recognize the King of the Jews as their Sovereign. Being from the east limits their knowledge of the God of Israel. The book of Daniel is written there, which exposes them to the One True God. Their gifts to the newborn King are selected according to who the child is, and by understanding His purpose for humanity. These gifts do not fit a baby, but instead, an adult’s role in time and eternity.
The gift of myrrh is mentioned three times during the life of Christ. Once at His birth, then on the cross and at His burial. In Mark 15, myrrh is mixed with wine, which creates a narcotic in order to keep the condemned sane. Jesus, however, refused this drug, choosing to suffer the full effects of our sins. Myrrh is mentioned in John 19 as they prepare His body for burial. Jesus does not faint on the cross and ends up in a cool tomb which revives Him. He dies on the cross and is buried. The wise men see, in the baby, the Savior of the world who dies for all the sins of mankind.
The wise men’s gift of frankincense is used by a priest in worship. The priest places hot coals off the Brazen Altar onto the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place each day. The frankincense is then sprinkled on the altar, which causes it to vaporize and fill the Holy Place with a sweet smell. The book of Hebrews compares this to the prayers of the saints. Christ, our Great High Priest, intercedes now on our behalf. Christians still sin after salvation, however the Lord Jesus, our advocate, defends us before our Father. When we confess our sins to Him, we are forgiven based on Christ’s sacrifice.
The gold is a gift for a king. It has been 600 years since the last king of Israel, but this King is different. The Bible speaks of two kingdoms in relationship to Christ. The Kingdom of Heaven is the period when He will rule over this world as He does over the universe. The Lord’s Prayer states, “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” This is referred to as the Millennial Reign of Christ. The Kingdom of God is when Christ reigns in us on earth. There is only one throne in our hearts, either God sits on it or we sit on it. Crowning Jesus King is bowing to Him today as the Sovereign of our lives.
The wise men see beyond a baby in a manger to God’s gift for us. As our Savior, He pays for our sins and we are covered with His robe of Righteousness, which makes us fit for Heaven. Christ, our Great High Priest, intercedes for us daily as we confess our sins maintaining our fellowship with the Father. Today Jesus reigns over our hearts. One day we will bow before His Throne praising and worshiping Him in person.
Without Christ in Christmas it is Merry Xmas, because love, joy and peace come from Him.
STEVE CONWELL, pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church, is heard morning on WFLO and WVHL in “A Thought For Today.” His email address is SteveConwell@outlook.com.